Harry Potter fandom is coming back to life in a big way recently, what with the movie coming out and the Pottermore “history” and now the Cursed Child spoilers that may or may not be true, but that I really wish I hadn’t read. All of it makes me want to go back to the more classic Harry Potter fanfiction, and for today’s fanfic rec, I found a great fic about a character who’s been sadly neglected in both canon and fandom.
Where My Thought’s Escaping follows Cho Chang throughout what would have been the trio’s seventh year at Hogwarts. While Harry, Ron, and Hermione were on their extended Horcrux-hunting camping trip, what was Cho doing? We only get to see her briefly at the end of the seventh book, mostly as a way for Ginny to express how jealous she was. Surely Harry Potter’s only Asian character of note should have been doing something more interesting than that. Fortunately, even though canon didn’t say anything about Cho, fanfic decided to. In snorkfics’s fic, Cho is forced to move back to China when her parents decide that the U.K. is too dangerous a place for them to be.
There had been a huge argument when her parents told her.
“You want to what?”
“We’re moving back to China,” her father said, more abrupt than usual. “I’m sorry, Cho, but it’s becoming too dangerous here.”
“Why now? Nothing’s changed!”
“We’ve been thinking about this for a while, darling,” said her mother. “And things have changed.”
“Dumbledore,” added her father heavily. Cho stared in disbelief. “After all, he beat You-Know-Who himself in that affair your boyfriend was involved with.” His tone indicated some disapproval of Harry Potter and his behaviour, whether in general or towards his daughter in particular, Cho couldn’t tell. “We were worried when they started killing Muggles, naturally, it was like seeing the Defenders back again, but so long as Dumbledore was fighting — we were prepared to stay.”
“You didn’t even believe him when he said You-Know-Who was back! You told me to support the Ministry!” cried Cho. That still rankled, even two years later.
“The Ministry were wrong,” replied her father in annoyance (and with perhaps a touch of defensiveness). “And you didn’t pay any attention to what we told you, did you? Fudge let everyone down badly, yes, but that doesn’t matter now. The situation is different. Now, things will go downhill very quickly, I fear. It’s best that we leave as soon as possible.”
He held up a hand, looking weary. “No buts, Cho, please. We’ve thought about this. It’s a good time to go.”
Though Cho has to leave, she continues to get heavily coded letters from Marietta Edgecombe, her Ravenclaw friend, and Michael Corner, her Ravenclaw boyfriend. She pores over them and the Quibbler for clues, all while trying to get her younger siblings and her parents off her case and trying to adjust to a new life and job in China. When her DA-charmed Galleon burns with a message from Neville, though, she knows she has to return to Hogwarts.
This Cho has much more agency than book Cho, both because this story is actually about her and because Cho has to fight every step of the way to make her own choices. Her parents take her to China, her parents find her a job, and her parents insist that she forget about her entire life in the U.K. Cho learns and she adapts, but she doesn’t lose sight of her friends in the warzone and she doesn’t stop trying to help them. The story has a very stranger-in-a-strange-land feel to it, as Cho, who feels Scottish, has to return to China, where she appears Chinese. Cho is constantly torn between two cultures, and choosing which one she wants to remain with is as compelling as the actual story of the war.
In fact, Where My Thought’s Escaping does a great job with its international perspective. The wizards in China are aware of the war in Europe, but choose to stay out of it due to their own wizarding history of wars between wizards and Muggles; Cho struggles to find English speakers who share her views on the war and, most interestingly, finds that she has to learn the Chinese forms of spells because the English ones don’t work as well in China. It’s a fascinating idea that I wish canon Harry Potter would take on—think of how great it would be if American wizards were really bad at magic because they were on Native land.
Where My Thought’s Escaping is a great mostly-gen fic that thoroughly discusses and develops a character that canon left by the wayside, and you should definitely read it. You can find the fic here on ye olde LiveJournal!